Are you an animated GIF virgin? Do you hang your head in shame when your friends share their custom made GIFs? If so, then the new video to GIF tool from the popular image hosting service Imgur might be perfect for you. All you need to do is plug in the URL of an online video (I tested it with several YouTube clips), choose a portion to animate, and wait while Imgur converts it. It's worth noting that you likely won't end up with a true animated GIF, though. Most of the time the tool spat out one of Imgur's new "GIFV" files, which loop like GIFs, but more closely resemble video files when it comes to sharing them. The big benefit of GIFV? It produces higher quality animated images with smaller file sizes than traditional GIFs. YouTube is testing out its own quick GIF conversion tool as well, but Imgur deserves credit for trying to evolve the archaic image format.
But while it was easy to use, there's definitely room for improvement. Embedding a GIFV file takes some manual HTML tweaking, and it's hard to tell when it's going to produce a GIFV file versus a traditional GIF. And, of course, it's not going to be very useful if you want to spit out an animated GIF to text to your friends. It'd be nice to have the option to create a standard GIF, even if the result is kind of ugly and massive.